LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky baseball coach Gary Henderson, who directed the Wildcats to a school-record 45-win season in 2012, has signed a new five-year contract, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday.
“I want to begin by thanking Mitch, Dr. Capilouto and Marc Hill for their overall commitment to our baseball program and for helping us establish Kentucky baseball as one of the nation’s elite,” Henderson said. “We have had some exciting moments during my nine years at UK and we still have a lot of things that we want to accomplish.
“I also want to thank our players and their families. They all bought in. We have a group of kids that have tremendous pride in the program, they like each other and they like to play. The complete and total absence of selfishness that our club demonstrated this past season will be vitally important to maintain as we move forward. We have great kids with supportive families and it is my responsibility, along with my staff, to make sure they clearly understand Kentucky baseball will not be sneaking up on anybody in 2013.”
UK baseball assistant coaches Brad Bohannon and Brian Green have also been inked to new contracts. Bohannon serves as UK’s recruiting coordinator and Green functions as the offensive coordinator and hitting coach.
“It was very important to me that we were able to keep Brad Bohannon, Brian Green and Keith Vorhoff on my staff,” Henderson said. “My three assistants have tremendous passion, energy, intelligence and work ethic. The continuity of our staff has been a program strength and I appreciate Mitch’s efforts to help with that continuity.
“I want to thank the Big Blue Nation,” Henderson said. “Our fans came out and supported us in a big way this spring. We are going to do everything possible to give them another exciting, winning team to make it easy for them to continue coming out to the ballpark.”
Henderson was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year after pacing the Wildcats to a record 45-win season in 2012, including the best finishes in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments in program history. UK finished third in the SEC regular season and set school records by leading the conference for eight of 10 weeks and winning seven of its conference weekend series.
The Wildcats ranked No. 1 for three weeks during the season and finished the campaign ranked for 13 consecutive weeks. Following the season, Kentucky had a school-record nine players selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, the second most in the nation and the most in the SEC, and the 2013 roster has sent an NCAA-leading eight players to the prestigious Cape Cod League.
Henderson has been at the core of the UK baseball surge onto the national scene since claiming the 2006 SEC Championship after a last-place finish in 2005. As the associate head coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator from 2004-08, Henderson guided the UK pitching staff to some of its best seasons in school annals and annually brought in highly ranked recruiting classes. After taking over as head coach in 2009, Henderson has totaled a 129-99 (.565) record, the second-best four-year coaching record in UK history.
“Gary Henderson is a good example of the type of coach we want to lead our athletics programs at Kentucky and he and his staff are very deserving of new contracts,” Barnhart said. “He has helped build the program from the moment he arrived in Lexington and it was thrilling watching his team complete a historic campaign in 2012. We are convinced that the success our baseball program achieved last spring is just the beginning and it is an exciting time to be a UK baseball fan.”
Henderson has consistently produced a bevy of talent in the UK program, highlighted by the record draft picks in 2012. Since Henderson arrived in Lexington, UK has had a total of 54 players drafted or sign a professional contract. In UK baseball history since the start of the draft in 1965, 153 players have been drafted or sign contracts, with 36 percent of those players coming under the watch of Henderson. Since claiming the 2006 SEC Title, Henderson has had 51 players drafted or sign a contract, an average of 7.29 players per season. Before the 2006 season, UK averaged 2.17 players selected per MLB Draft.
In 2012, Henderson guided the Wildcats to its best campaign in the 107-year history of the program. UK set new school records in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, saves, opponent batting average, games played, fielding percentage, winning streak and home wins. UK finished with the second-best team ERA in program history in 2012 and its 18 wins in league action marks the second-most in UK annals. With Henderson known for his disciplined approach to controlling the running game from the mound, UK allowed the fewest steals and picked off the most runners in the SEC.
Among the other statistical successes of 2012, include a 15-10 record vs. the top 25, and a school-record 10-4 record against top-10 foes. UK won a series against a No. 1 team (LSU) for the first time in UK history, posted a school-record 18-10 record in one or two-run games and finished the entire 2012 season with a No. 13 NCAA RPI according to WarrenNolan.com.
HENDERSON QUICK NOTES
• Led UK to a school-record 45-win season in 2012, including its best finishes in the NCAA and SEC tournaments (modern-era history of SEC Tournament).
• His 2012 pitching staff had the second-best ERA in program history, and despite playing in a “hitters ballpark”, allowed the fewest homers in the SEC and the second fewest in UK history.
• Has the second-best four-year record of any coach in UK baseball program history.
• Became the second UK coach in program history to earn SEC Coach of the Year accolades in a voting of the conference coaches.
• Since arriving on campus as the recruiting coordinator, pitching and associate head coach in 2004, Henderson has turned UK into a destination for the top talent in the nation. Since 2006, UK has had a total of 51 players picked in the MLB Draft or sign a pro contract, an average of 7.29 players per season. Before the 2006 season, UK averaged 2.17 players drafted per season.
• Has brought in the top-three recruiting classes in program history, No. 4 in 2008, No. 6 in 2009 and No. 16 in 2010.
• Led UK to the first No. 1 national ranking in program history, with UK owning the top spot for three weeks in 2012.
• His 2013 club has an NCAA-leading eight players in the Cape Cod League, with SEC Freshman of the Year Austin Cousino becoming the third player in UK history to be named to the USA Collegiate National Team.
• UK finished 2012 with a school-record 10-4 mark against top-10 teams, and completed 2012 ranked for a school-record 13 consecutive weeks.
• Henderson’s 2012 club led the SEC for eight of 10 weeks and won a school-record seven of its SEC weekend series.
• Henderson will be entering his 10th season at Kentucky, joining the UK staff for the 2004 season and taking over as head coach in 2009.